Pre-Application: Job Search Strategy
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Networking, Recruiters & Job Boards
Interviewing & Negotiating Offers

Salary negotiation basics

When should you talk about salary in the interview process? The hiring manager should generally be the first to address pay. That way, you can avoid coming across as presumptuous or requesting a figure that’s much higher or lower than the employer’s range. If the hiring manager asks you what you’re looking for, explain that you’d like a fair compensation package based on the position, as well as your skills and experience. If pressed for more details, give a range.

Have a range in mind, rather than a number. This gives you and the company more flexibility, and you’re likely to end up within the middle to the high end of the range. At the same time, know the lowest salary number you can live with. It’s better to have a floor than a ceiling. Requesting benefits—such as employer-paid health insurance, retirement contributions, and achievement-based bonuses—if your company’s less willing to negotiate on salary. Benefits may end up saving you more in the long run.

While you shouldn’t feel obligated to disclose your salary history, a prospective employer may ask. Hiring managers have an offer in mind based on their budget allocated for the role, and they want to make sure it’s in line with your expectations. If you’re interested in the job and decide to share your compensation history, be honest. Stretching numbers can come back to haunt you. Do your best to steer the conversation toward your expected range, rather than your previous salary.

The best thing to say if you think an offer is low, but you want the position is to start by stressing that you’re very interested in the role, and give some examples of how you could bring value to the organization. Say something like, “I’ve done some market research, and the average salary for someone with my career experience and skills at a similarly sized organization is in this range. Would you consider increasing the salary for this position?” If the employer says no and you can’t make it work, you may have to politely bow out.

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